Wind Rider

Free Wind Rider by Connie Mason

Book: Wind Rider by Connie Mason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Connie Mason
Tags: Romance
Rider nodded. “Come. My ribs are touching my backbone. I am anxious to taste Spotted Doe’s stew.”
    “I suspect she’d like you to taste more than her stew,” Hannah muttered crossly.
    “What did you say?”
    Hannah started violently. What in the devil was she thinking? She didn’t care if the big buck bedded every Indian maiden in the vil lage. “Nothing.”
    “Hurry; it’s starting to rain.”
    Sure enough, raindrops pelted them just as they reached the edge of the village. Holding up the blanket so she wouldn’t trip, Hannah hurried along beside Wind Rider. She ducked into the tepee just as the sky opened, grateful that he hadn’t insisted upon tying her to the stake outside. Spotted Doe was waiting for them, her face a mask of fury.
    “I’ve been waiting for you,” she said, sidling up beside Wind Rider. “I have built a fire to warm the stew I prepared. When you are fin ished I will tend your leg.” She sent Hannah a venomous look when she noted that Wind Rider’s slave no longer resembled the pathetic creature she’d first seen tied to the stake. Though the light was dim, she could tell that the slave was young and beautiful—too beautiful. “What is she doing here? Why have you brought her inside your lodge?”
    Annoyed at Spotted Doe’s possessive manner, Wind Rider merely shrugged. “It is storming outside. She will be no use to me if she falls ill.”
    “Where are her clothes? She looks different somehow.”
    “Her clothes were filthy. I could not abide her stench so I took her to the river to bathe. I hoped you might have a garment she could wear. It needn’t be new. Anything serviceable will do.”
    As much as Spotted Doe wanted to deny Wind Rider’s request, she could not. She wanted him to look upon her with favor. He needed a wife and she was much taken with him. Other warriors paled in comparison to the big Cheyenne buck. She had heard that Wind Rider was white, but he exhibited no signs of white blood. He rode with Cut Nose and raided with equal ferocity. He was a War Dog soldier who had proven his courage many times over.
    “If you wish it, I will find something for your slave to wear. Now I will tend your wound.”
    “There is no need, Spotted Doe.”
    “It pleases me to do it. Coyote gave me a healing salve to apply to your wound.”
    Wind Rider sat beside the fire while Spotted Doe knelt at his side, spreading the salve over his wound with gentle hands. She lingered as long as she dared, until Wind Rider grew res tive; then she rose and prepared to leave. “I will return with the tunic for your slave.”
    “It is raining and she has no need of it tonight, Spotted Doe. Bring it tomorrow.”
    Spotted Doe glared at Hannah, unwilling to leave her alone with Wind Rider but knowing she had no choice. “I will do as you say. Enjoy your meal, Wind Rider.”
    A sigh of relief trembled past Hannah’s lips. “Spotted Doe hates me.”
    Wind Rider sent her a scathing look. “Why do you find that strange? Your people have taken our lands, killed our women and children, and destroyed the buffalo that feeds us. Is it any wonder that my people hate you?”
    “How can you blame me for any of that? My home is across the sea in a country called Ire land. My family has never even seen an Indian, let alone killed one.”
    “You are white,” Wind Rider said with final ity. “My people see nothing but your white skin.” He bent and removed the kettle of stew from the fire. From a parfleche he found bowls and spoons, then carefully divided the stew between the two bowls. He handed one to Hannah. “Sit and eat.”
    Hugging the blanket to her chest with one hand and holding the bowl with the other, Hannah sat awkwardly. Then she devoured the stew with gusto, finding it surprisingly good despite the fact that it had been pre pared by Spotted Doe. When every last morsel had been consumed she sat back and sighed, so exhausted she could barely keep her eyes open.
    Replete, Wind Rider rose and

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